Friday, February 20, 2009

Political Testament: Part VI

In the sixth section of his "Political Testament", entitled La réorganisation militaire, Leopold III stressed that Belgium should reconstitute its regular army immediately following liberation from German occupation. 

La cessation des hostilités pourrait amener une crise d'autorité affectant une forme violente et qu'il serait malaisé de refréner en l'absence d'une force armée régulièrement constituée et formée d'éléments d'un patriotisme éprouvé indemnes de toute passion partisane.

Pour des raisons de tranquillité à l'intérieur et de prestige à l'extérieur, je recommande de reconstituer dans le plus bref délai une armée belge formée de militaires de carrière valides, complétée par des volontaires, de préférence soldats ayant vu le feu. A cet effet, il faudra exiger le repatriement immédiat de nos officiers et soldats prisonniers en Allemagne et de tous ceux qui seront encore à l'étranger.

The cessation of hostilities could lead to a crisis of authority, which might take a violent form, and which it would be difficult to control without a regular army, formed of elements of a proven patriotism immune to all partisan passion. 

For reasons of internal peace and external prestige, I recommend that a Belgian army be formed, as rapidly as possible, consisting of able professional soldiers, reinforced by volunteers, preferably soldiers who have seen action. To achieve this end, it will be necessary to insist upon the immediate repatriation of our officers and soldiers who are prisoners in Germany, and of all those still abroad.

The passages testifies to Leopold's prudence, in anticipating the civil disorders which might ensure after liberation, before normal government could be re-established. The King's emphasis on the need for a strong army also highlights his concern for national security and prestige.

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